Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Day of the Pregnancy Test

The 2WW was over. I had resisted the urge to get a home pregnancy test at the pharmacy. I still didn't feel a thing but everyone kept telling me that you can't count on feelings. I thought about those women who go to the doctor because they're feeling tired and putting on weight and the doctor tells them that they are eight months pregnant. I always thougth that could only happen to stupid women - I mean how could you not know? Then it happened to someone I know - a normal, intelligent, educated woman who had been through a very stressful year with ailing parents and a small baby to care for. I understood that you can put a lot of strange feeling down to stress. Or if you are so exhausted, you could ignore them. I even knew that your periods could stop for a while if you were really stressed. Now I was thinking that you really could get through a whole pregnancy without feeling anything.

"But you're not stressed," pointed out a calm friend.
"But I don't feel anything."
"Well you're only 5 minutes pregnant that's why."

There was no doubt in my mind that I was pregnant. I'd never been ill, my periods had always been regular, and my hips were as wide as a house. Even the timing had been arranged for the rendevue of sperm and ovum - an ovum that we had seen and measured on the ultrasound. I had to be pregnant, there was absolutely no reason not to be. Besides, I had told about 10 people.

I was in the hospital at 7.30am and waiting at the door of haematology as they unlocked it. There was no problem drawing blood, down the corridor to the lab with my blood sample and into the red heart-shaped basket. I was at the bus-stop by 7.50. Everything had gone smoothly, it felt like a lucky day.

The results of the blood test did not need to be discussed by the doctors. There was no treatment - either I was or I wasn't. Therefore, I didn't have to wait until after the doctor's meeting at 1pm in order to get the result. I had been told to call at 10.30. The 2 1/2 hours dragged and it was extremely hard to concentrate on my work. D who shared the office with me, was also watching the clock.

At 10.29 I took my mobile and went to find an empty office. There wasn't one so I stood on the stairwell and dialled very slowly. The ringing tone started at exactly 10.30. "We don't have the results yet, call back in half an hour." Aaargh! The waiting was supposed to be all over.  I went back to the office and D looked at me with expectant eyes. "Another half an hour." She was as frustrated as I was.

Half an hour later I got through to the nurses' station. "Sorry it's not pregnancy." I remember thinking that this was a nicer way of saying it than: Sorry you're not pregnant. Less accusatory. IT is not pregnancy, it's
not you it's 'it'. Not your fault at all.

They gave me back to the secretary to make an appointment with the doctor to discuss my next move. It was in three weeks time. "Three weeks?! Nothing sooner?"
"Sorry, we're completely booked up."
I wanted to see the doctor tomorrow and get staright back on track. I wondered if they deliberately made you wait to get over the disappointment and sort out your emotions. Now I'm sure that they purposely slow you down. You need to do this thing calmly and have quiet periods in between when you're not running around after ultrasounds and health fund authorizations. And they want you to have at least one natural menses.

I went back into the office and sat down. I kept my head down and made a short announcement: I'm not pregnant and I absolutely do not want to talk about it. There was silence but the disapppointment hung in the air. D tried to say something soothing. "D! I cannot stress how much I don't want to talk about it." I said brusquely. "Sorry, sorry," she mumbled and we got on with our work. After a while I was able to break the silence. It had to be me otherwise we would have sat there in silence all afternoon. I took a quick look at the newspaper online and made some inane comment about the headline. I can't remember what it was but we discussed it for two minutes and normal service and office relations were resumed.

As I walked home later I called some of the people I had told. "It's ok, I'm going straight back to try again. It would have been an absolute miracle if it had happened the first time."
"Maybe don't tell so many people next time?" Suggested J. And I knew she was right.

It was the beginning of March 2005. I would not be a mother at the age of 42.


  1. It's nice reading this knowing you have a two-year old girl, otherwise I would be feeling very sad now.
    I remember with my first pregnancy doing a pregnancy test that was negative (after maybe 5 months trying to get pregnant). I was so disappointed, but when I still didn't get my period 2 weeks later I did it again, and it was positive. Only later when I discovered my dates were 3 weeks out did I realize I had ovulated 3 weeks late, so in fact had not been pregnant long enough at the first test for a positive result. My cycles have always been regular, both before and after this, so it was certainly a strange blip and presumably connected to so much wanting to get pregnant.

  2. Thaks for this Gillian. It's amazing how much our bodies can do whatever they want - even if science says differently.